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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Mar 15, 2019

Repeat guest Barry Matheney joins Dan Neumann for this week’s episode of the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast!


Barry is an agile thinker, an expert in the DevOps space, and a colleague of Dan’s at AgileThought — serving as a Senior DevOps Consultant. Prior to his role at AgileThought, he was the Director of Enterprise Applications at Kforce Inc.


Last time Barry was on the podcast, they discussed embedding DevOps into Scrum teams with Eric Landes. This week, they’re taking it up a notch and discussing even bigger projects: They talk about what everyone on an agile team should do; how teams can practice agility even in a non-agile company; how teams can plan with a legacy system in mind when going about new development efforts; and many more concepts around embedding DevOps in large organizations.


Key Takeaways

What everyone on an agile team should do:

  • Challenge each other to make the product the best it can be (and not just worry about the individual components)
  • Look at team formation and set standards to adhere to
  • Practice personal accountability
  • Challenge all of the technical resources to make sure they’re protecting the team
  • Consult team and make sure rules and policies still apply
  • Take a grassroots approach

How teams can be agile in a non-agile company:

  • Punch holes in the silos rather than tear down the silos (AKA create a conduit between the teams and learn how to integrate their thoughts and processes)
  • Have a team/working agreement in place (especially to challenge each other with new ideas)
  • Diversify the teams so you do not repeat limiting patterns
  • Build some of the software and test it instead of arguing over a whiteboard

How to create safety around new development efforts (especially when integrating with a legacy system):

  • Plan with the legacy system in mind (while looking for ways to eliminate parts of it gradually)
  • Migrate a legacy system incrementally by using the strangler pattern
  • Remember that it’s not just a technology challenge; it’s a business challenge (engage with the business side about the value of taking a different approach vs. a big-bang replacement effort of the old system)

Other concepts for embedding DevOps in large organizations:

  • Minimize interdependencies on any upstream or downstream system
  • Ensure teams are challenging the technical resources (through the working agreement)
  • Include the development team in the entire lifecycle
  • Have empathy for all involved
  • Continuously improve and learn over time (instead of delving into a much larger, riskier change)


Mentioned in this Episode:

Barry Matheney (LinkedIn)

Podcast Ep. 12: “The Importance of Embedding a DevOps Skill Set into Your Team”

Greenfield Project

Podcast Ep. 4: “Setting Up Working Agreements with Christy Erbeck”
Strangler Pattern

Podcast Ep. 2: “What is a Full-Cycle Developer?”


Barry Matheney’s Book Picks

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life, by John G. Miller

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company, by Bryce G. Hoffman


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